Friday, August 31, 2012

The "Learning" Channel?

How can you have a little girl who looks like the above photo and make her look like the photo below and think it's okay as a mother?

I mean, I know even I look better with  a little makeup, but do you  really need to make your child wear false teeth (a Flipper) and more makeup than Joan Rivers?

I think what bothers me most is that the show airs on "The Learning Channel." I don't know about you but the only thing I learned from watching one episode was  it embarrassed me to find out they live in my home state and make us all look like hicks. Granted the show is like a train wreck, you simply HAVE to watch. What worries me more is that this mother seems to be teaching this little girl that she simply isn't good enough to win anything unless she is totally transformed into something she naturally is not.

What kind of message does THAT send to a five or six year old kid? Don't even get me started on her nickname..."Honey Boo Boo Child?" It's almost like "Jersey Shore Does Kindergarten."

Even more ridiculous is that this show had higher ratings than the Republican National Convention last night. What are people thinking...or are they even thinking at all?

So instead of watching speeches pertaining to the future of our country, they would rather see a six year old dress up like a stripper and get a peek into  their obviously totally dysfunctional red neck family.

Don't get me wrong...I have plenty of red neck friends, I grew up in Georgia, but none of them dress their tot like this kid's parents do.

Then again, what do I know? They have a prime time show on a major cable network and I can guarantee Honey Boo's mom doesn't have to work as much as I do or worry  about making the mortgage every month.

Maybe I'll buy Massey a "Flipper"  a push up bra and an outfit from our local adult novelty store and let HER take over paying the bills!

It'll never happen in this house. I'd  rather be broke and happy than to use my children as a means to an end that I was too lazy to go out and do FOR them.

Of course this is only MY opinion but I feel sorry for this little girl. My kids have grown up knowing  both their parents have worked themselves to death to give them every opportunity they could and love them all just as they are;  whether it be good, bad or ugly.

I'm taking my youngest to downtown Atlanta on Saturday  to the Dragon*Con parade to see some REAL freaks. We are picking up a high school buddy of mine on the way. It's a great sight to see, peeps that have real jobs who simply like to escape and have fun. Atlanta is a wonderful eclectic city. It's a melting pot and home to millions of people who are all different but all bleed red.

Beauty is only skin deep and highly over rated if you ask me.

Looking forward to a fun day in the city, Then it's back home to reality and work.

I pray for Honey Boo Boo. Everyone should. That's one messed up family taking the easy way out..."Selling out."

Me...I'll stay in my own dysfunctional life with my own three kids who are learning about REAL life the REAL way, experiencing it first hand and learning FROM it.

My life IS "The Learning Channel."

Til next  time..COTTON

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

I'm no meteorologist but AM a firm believer in the powers of a full moon. It brings out the crazy in people. Sometimes it's good crazy and sometimes it's bad.

Today it was mostly the bad. My lunch shift at work was like watching paint dry. The dinner shift wasn't much better. It was almost eerie. We were so busy yesterday at lunch and dinner, then tonight it was like all of our customers had fallen off the planet. I got off from my lunch shift and went across the street to throw some money at the Verizon giants and went to put some gas in my little car.

First positive experience of the day. I buy gas at Kroger where I use my discount points but often times it is like a freaking combat zone. People are always impatient or backing out to move to another pump that opens up only to be confronted by  another car that saw the open pump first and  screeched around the lot quicker. I usually try to wait behind a car that is already pumping gas, knowing they have already paid. I did just that today when an older gentleman in a land yacht pulled in next  to me. He rolled his window down and asked if I was waiting to go in front of him? (It all comes down to what side of your car  the gas cap is on.) I told him he was good, I was waiting for the pump next  to him. I love me some ole peeps! He smiled, inched his huge car up  to the pump and said "Thanks!"

He was on one side of the pump and I was on the other. I got out to pump my gas the same time as him. A car alarm started blaring  and he said loudly "Whoops, that's me! Hit the wrong button again."

He was so pleasant it almost made me forget I was paying four bucks a gallon for gas.

Then I picked up  Massey  from school and came home to assume the position for thirty minutes in the bed. Just when my body started to go numb and my mind went blank, Massey popped into the room and said "You need to leave for work."

I went back to work and it was desolute. We waited and waited for  the masses but they never came. But just like that, Karma happened. I had a party of three who asked for me and gave me a thirty percent tip. Forget that table that left me nothing on a thirty five dollar  tab. I got home at a reasonable hour and had forty more bucks than I had when I walked in.

It's Labor Day weekend and it couldn't happen at a worse time for me. Like the soldier I am, I thought, "Okay, go to Kroger and buy some milk. Write a check for $25 over and go in the morning and deposit the twenty five in cash. Make it up over the long holiday weekend and it will all work out."

Crossing my fingers and toes and going into work tomorrow hoping to bank big.

It could may happen, it BETTER happen!

Til next time...COTTON

It's a good thing I never desired to be a bank teller

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Day...That's a Good Thing!

I saw this photo on a friend's FB page and every time I look at it, it still makes me chuckle...which is also a good thing.

Unfortunately I worked another double shift but between shifts picked up Massey from school. She got in the car and informed me that she was graduating from  high school with honors and ranks 155 out of a graduating class of 575. Another good thing!

She's a good kid. All three of my kids are good different ways but I love them all to death, even though at times thought they were trying to kill me to prove my point. So far I have survived to tell the story. They have all struggled, who hasn't? They all still often tell me they love me...some kids don't. That's another good thing!

My kids had everything they ever wanted when they were little...yet another good thing.

When we hit the skids unfortunately they were all old enough to know their parent's were broke. Not a good thing when you are a parent. It's embarrassing but facts are facts.

We survived...another good thing.

I'm finally having to realize that I am getting older. Not a good thing. I have exhausted myself over the past few years. The good part is I have two kids still at home and have learned how to boss them around and push  their buttons.  You want my car? Put gas in it. You want to borrow my car again? Do some laundry and clean the kitchen. It's amazing what kids can do when they want something from you.

Massey is applying for a job opening at a day care center. Perfect job for her, she's great with kids. Zach is doing wonderful with his new job and TJ is making his own mark on the world...another good thing!

Sometimes you have to step back from the current picture and look at the entire picture.

I have three healthy kids. Yes we hit a rough patch but it taught my kids a valuable lesson. Nothing is a guarantee in life. In life you roll with the punches and come out swinging. You fight back and look for a friend in your corner.

If you are a good person, you will have friends who go to the mat for you. You will have people who have your back and friends who help unasked. That, my friends is a marvelous thing!

I am almost there. Next  year this time I will only have three pups to yell at. It's gonna be like starting over. One is a young pup that wears me (and the other two dogs) out. Another is going blind and the last is a fat lazy bulldog who acts like he can't hear, unless you pour dog food in his bowl.

One more graduation party to  throw. One more time sitting in sweltering heat at a football stadium waiting for them to call my kid's name.

This time it will be with honors. That's a new one for THIS mom!

Doing it again tomorrow. A double shift, picking up Massey  from school and going back to work.

If I have made it this far, what's nine more months?

 An honor graduate and a feeling of total success as a Momma, that's what it is!

Til next time..COTTON

Monday, August 27, 2012

Taking Charge!

I was at work on Sunday when one of the bartenders who was off came in to eat at  the bar. She sat next to a regular that comes in several times a week and does work on his lap top. He's a pretty sharp guy and seems to know a lot about a lot of things. Granted my tiny mind is easily impressed but you can tell he is a pretty savvy guy. He has been helping the bartender get her financial affairs in order and helping her learn to budget her money.

As I watched them hunched together over his lap top I commented to a close co worker friend of mine that maybe I should ask him to help me too. I mean,  I have $2.12 that's just been sitting in my checking account for weeks doing nothing. Just think if I took half of it and put a dollar six cents into mutual bonds and took the other half and invested it in a CD?  Or I could diversify my portfolio and go in three different directions ... put part into mutual bonds, part into a CD and part into carefully chosen real estate options. I've heard swamp land is cheap in Las Vegas and going for next  to nothing.

My  friend laughed and said she had actually thought about asking him to help with her money too, then realized she didn't have any for him to help her work with. I told her maybe we should approach him together and he would just give us some money and THEN tell us what to do with it! It's not so bad for my friend, she is only thirty and starting a family. Tim and I were broke when we were thirty and got married.

We rose through the Blue Collar ranks slowly and hit the six figure mark in our forties. Right before I hit fifty the bottom fell out but at least we haven't always been poor.

I was chatting with a table at  work the same day. Super nice family with three boys. Massey went to elementary school with the oldest boy. He goes to a private school now and his mom was asking me what Massey's plans were?  I told her she was college bound in less than a year and seemed on  track with all her grades. She asked me what Massey wanted to do and I told her it seems she wants to be another starving artist.

She  survived being a starving Cotton for over three years so at least she is mentally prepared. Photography is another passion and the one I tend to nudge her towards. She has a keen eye and captures incredible moments with her camera. She also wants to do some type of therapy with kids and can easily incorporate the art and photography, plus she is amazing with young kids.

Of course as usual I am just trying to put a funny spin on my problems,  but it works best for me. Why cry over spilt milk?

I can still laugh because my family and many many friends helped us over the hurdles when I couldn't. They cheered me on as I worked day after day after day and kept me going with gifts of money, food and love. It was embarrassing at times but a humbling experience.

You get what you  give. You reap what you sow. I am not a perfect person but simply one who always tries to do the right thing...and if you do God will take care of you.

It's getting better, and even I am amazed at how far we have come. There are no guarantees in life and if you think there are, you are a mis guided human being.

Life is kinda like marriage vows. It's for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health...and definitely til death do you part!

I'm just trying to hang in there like millions of others. I am one of the lucky ones..I have a house, not  a grand one but one with a roof. I have a husband who loves me and three kids who have given me many fits but a hundred times more joy. I have three pups who make me laugh at least ten times a day. I have friends that I could call any time at any hour and they would be there for me. I have a sister and brother that haven't blocked my number and still love this ole gal.

I'd say I am doing pretty good at managing my affairs...Cotton style!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Feeling Better

Slept much better last night, guess my night sweats kept all the cold chills away. Four back to back shifts while sick took its toll on me and I slept till 11AM. Felt much better today and sent Massey to the grocery store with  a grocery list and I jumped on Johnny and headed to the front of the subdivision to cut. I specifically told Massey to fill up my gas can when she went to the store but when I went out to crank up Johnny, there sat my gas can on the garage floor. I borrowed some gas from my neighbor, Mr. Slow Lee and told him I would cut his back yard for him when I got through with the front. I didn't notice when Massey came back home but I noticed when she went to pull back out of the subdivision. I held up my arms and mouthed "My gas?" She mouthed back she was going to get it now.

I was finished with one side of the entrance and had moved to the other when she cruised back in. I waved for her to stop and filled up Johnny's tank. She asked me if she could use my car to go fill out job applications and I told her to be back at least an hour before I had to be at work.

I was cutting right beside the road when she left and didn't see her pull out but she honked the horn as she passed me and scared the crap out of me. My car doesn't have a cute little horn but a BIG car horn and is very loud. I looked up terrified, thinking I was about to be hit by a passing car only to see my daughter going down the street in my convertible, top down and arm waving behind her head at me.

I got through cutting and came home to rehydrate and load up my buddy, Mr. Weed Eater. I didn't have time to finish it all but got one side done and the other one started.

Came home and cut Mr. Slow Lee's tiny fenced in back yard for him. It was reverse, forward, reverse, forward. He has three garden boxes built and Johnny seems like a giant in his little back yard.

I had time to lay on the sofa for thirty minutes before I had to get ready for work. Work was busy, extremely busy and I regretted all the yard work I had done by seven thirty.

I feel much better but my stomach is still on the fence. I ate some yogurt before leaving for work and had a salad and a cup of pasta fagioli soup before I started my shift. I was off by 10:30 and at  the grocery store by 10:45. Massey had run all my gas out and I needed to pick up the things she didn't get...also specifically on her list.

On another note..."Pup Date" number three:

That Ziggy is a brat, a cut brat but a brat none the less. He terrorizes the other two and never seems to run out of energy (or poop.)

I was in the back yard yesterday and found a huge turtle by my back door. We have a creek in the woods at the back of our property. I went to pick up the turtle and return him to the creek. Seems the pups found it first and obviously had a grand ole time. There was nothing left but the shell. No bottom, no innards. Nothing but the shell. It was so clean I could use it as a soup bowl.

I hate to think what those last hours were like for poor Mr. Turtle. I have seen first hand how they  torture and play with the huge bull frogs that unknowingly hop into our back's not pretty. I'm not a big fan of frogs and  can't bring myself to pick one up. The dogs push it around, step on it's legs, wait for it to jump and then start the game all over again.

At least the dogs have a huge yard to romp and play in and plenty of nature to torture to death. When a frog death occurs,  they are banned from the house for at least five hours. Frog guts give them the same kind of stomach problems I have had...maybe I ate a bull frog in my sleep!

They chase every bird that lands in my yard. They try to get the little rabbits too but those little buggers can hop pretty  fast when three dogs are in pursuit. I feel like I am going to pull into my driveway one day and see Mother Nature, Chip and Dale and Peter Rabbit with  picket signs..."Kelly's dogs are killers."

I love my dogs though, they make me happy. They seem to know when I feel bad and never complain when they have to wait to be fed. When I get home they are always the happiest ones to see me. They never ask for money or my car. Not one of them have ever been arrested.

On the flip side, none of my teens have ever taken a dump on my floor, chewed up my flip flops or rooted through my bathroom trash can. (Yet)

Yep! I'm keeping the dogs...the kids will all be gone in less than a year and I'll need somebody  to keep this ole lady company.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, August 24, 2012

Being Sick Sucks

I started feeling bad yesterday morning. I got out of the shower for work and had to turn the ceiling fan off in the bedroom while I got ready for work, I was freezing. It hurt to even touch my skin but as usual I ignored the symptoms and went to work. On my way in the back door I stopped by our box of band aids and burn ointment and took two Advil's. I started feeling somewhat better but by  the time I got off for my break between shifts that achy feeling started again and I felt like they had turned the air down to 60 degrees. The owner was sick last week and two other employees had been sick as well the past few days. I washed my hands at least twenty times during my lunch shift and maybe forty times during my night shift.

Here's the don't have sick days when you are a server, you simply have days you have to work when you are sick.

I was standing in the alley of the kitchen last night when a pain shot through my ear like a knife. I HATE ear aches. Only happened a couple of times but I knew then,  I was sick. Came home and got a few things done and collapsed into bed. I woke up this morning willing myself to believe I felt better but took three things of yogurt (nature's antibiotic) to work with me and pumped in two more Advil before leaving the house. I got to work and drank a huge glass of orange juice and plodded on. The owner was there and I asked if he had any of the medicine left he took last week? He gave me two huge pills he had in his office. I hadn't eaten my yogurt yet but chugged the two pills down with some more OJ.

I kinda sorta really felt better a few minutes later and then while helping a server run some food to their table...I suddenly didn't. I felt light headed and my stomach was making noises that indicated to me I needed to go to the restroom ASAP.

I barely made it to the women's room but at least I did. Afterwards I immediately ate two containers of yogurt, a banana and some bread.

 My boss, Len is a massive man and eats like no one ever told him about what a Cholesterol count means. Me... I eat maybe once a day and snack and pick when I get home at night. I asked him if the medicine he gave me upset his stomach to which he replied "Nothing bothers my stomach."

Dang...even stomachs are scared of Len!

I should have eaten before I took two pills meant for a man, especially considering I haven't weighed over a hundred pounds in almost three years.

The food helped and I limped out after my lunch shift to my car to go home and take a break before the dinner shift. I got out of my bed with no minutes to spare...and ended up being five minutes late back to work. Pumped in more Advil, drank some more OJ and crossed my fingers. (and my legs:)

The server who had called out yesterday was back and said he felt much better which in turn made ME feel better knowing it was hopefully only a 24 hour bug..

The thing about working when you are sick is that EVERYTHING gets on your nerves, even someone just touching your arm.

It didn't help this morning that the owner's wife (or if you ask her, The Owner) was in a snit. She is ten years older than me and has been doing this ten years longer than I have AND works with her spouse seven days a week. (Tim would have shot or strangled me  years ago)

She ranted at me about something and I turned to her and said "I'm sick and I don't feel well at all. I could have done like most people and just called and said I wasn't coming in."

She eased up on me but took her 'Snit' to the back of the house and berated the kitchen staff for a good ten minutes. We have a ton of new employees in the back of the house and they all looked terrified as she went on and on and on.

Let me interject I don't blame her,  but she is much easier to take when you are feeling well. The couple I work for should have died of  massive strokes five years ago. She wants to retire but I can't really see it ever happening. The restaurant is her her life blood and she is much like me, if I'm not around to tell people what to do, who will?

I wandered back to the kitchen to warm up my shivering bones and one of my favorite peeps in the kitchen, a big and round black girl who has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen was doing her prep work at the utility table.

I mentioned to her I was sorry they were getting so much crap and she commented quietly "Sometimes she can be a nagger."

Guess I was feeling better because my quick wit came back to me and I retorted back "Well, I would NEVER call you a nagger."

She cracked up. She told me I was a trip and I knew if I was on top of my verbal game again, I must be getting better..

I had to stay way too late at work tonight because of one table but think I DO actually feel better. I finally left after almost twelve hours and when passing my black (African American is too much to type we need an acronym) co worker, I held up both hands with only thumbs and pinkies showing and said "Deuces, Nagger!"

Life is getting better. I was sick but I am getting better. We are still broke but making ends meet. It's a long road back but we are almost halfway there and with this economy we are making tremendous strides millions can't.

Came home from work tonight to find Ziggy, our new puppy that we needed like another hole in the head but warms my heart more than my hot flashes had crapped in the upstairs hall...again.

Maybe he is confused about what I am trying to teach him when I say "SIT!"

I do feel better, blogging always helps. No one thinks I am funnier than I do, just ask any of my kids.

If you can't laugh at your misfortune or ills you are missing the big picture.

No one said it would be easy.

Til next  time...going to bed  and hope to wake up tomorrow!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Everyone Has Their Forte' I Found Mine in a Junk Drawer

Everyone has their strong point, mine seems to be hanging on by a thread and making it all work out.

Last week was Massey's birthday and it exhausted my limited cash flow. I only took her and a friend to a restaurant she choose in Atlanta, but it took twenty bucks worth of gas to get there and back.

 Tim and I are getting her a car as her present, it's having a new engine put in this week. Tim's Mercedes was just killing us with gas and repairs so we traded it to the guy who works on our cars. He gave Tim a 2000 Volvo station wagon he had put a new engine in  and runs like new. Nice body and paint job, leather upholstery and is so much better on gas. Since the blue book value on Tim's car was much higher, he threw in a 2000 Ford Focus for Massey that he had and is putting a new engine in. After all is said and done, we got Massey's car for five hundred bucks and thankfully he is letting us make payments. The car is in great shape body wise and the interior looks good too. Tim's already paid him a hundred bucks and I am giving him another hundred on Monday. We'll have it paid off in two weeks if the tipping gods continue to smile on me.

I had just enough money  to take Massey for her driver's exam. Next problem was they want every document you  can imagine to give a kid a permit these days. Social Security card, birth certificate, certificate of attendance from her school along with a certificate that says she took the drug awareness program.  Dang, you'd think we were signing her up to run in the Indy 500.

I know I have her Social Security card somewhere but couldn't find it for the life of me. First stop,  the Social Security office. It took thirty minutes for them to issue her a new card. Next stop the Department of Driver Services...or as I like to call it "The Torture Chamber." Twenty people in line in front of us and another thirty sitting in chairs looking pissed. I'd say out of all the people in front of us, maybe a quarter of them had all the required documents they needed. Massey's appointment which she made over a month ago was for 9AM. They called her number around 10:30. Another set of papers were filled out and twenty minutes later they asked me to drive my car to the designated parking spot and leave all my paper work on  the dash so the examiner taking her for her exam would know we were next.

After the examiner got through talking to the ticked off mother of a girl she had just flunked and listed about five things she had done wrong it was finally Massey's turn. I got out of the car, gave a few last instructions like "Check your blind spots and always come to a full stop" I walked back to the sidewalk and sat down. You couldn't pay me to go back inside and I needed to be outside to listen for sirens once my girl left the parking lot in my car.

She passed!

By the time we got through it was almost noon...ridiculous if you ask me but Massey was on cloud nine. It was my only day off and we were both starving. I had two dollars to my name.

Here comes the good part!

While searching through every box in my garage and every junk drawer in my house for Massey's birth certificate, I found not only her birth certificate but a book of checks from my bank. I thought I was out of checks and never ordered more. (I'm bad with checks...see MANY previous posts)

I took that book of checks with me and we went to the grocery store...the grocery store that takes three days to clear a check.

I bought toilet paper, chicken for dinner, bath soap, breakfast cereal, milk, a big bag of dog food and staples I was out of...and enough food to last us a few days. I thought about it...if I write a check for twenty bucks and it bounces they will charge me $35.00. If I write a check for eighty they still charge me $35 but I have a kitchen full of food and toilet paper to boot!

It was wonderful. I made dinner, washed clothes with my laundry detergent and took a bath with a full bar of soap! I have been checking online and my skills seem to have served me well. It still hasn't cleared but I worked three shifts in two days and have my deposit sitting on the kitchen counter for in the morning...early morning.

Sometimes a momma's gotta do what a momma's gotta do. I know I shouldn't have but if there is anyone who deserves to be screwed to the wall it's banks. I deposited my paycheck last week before two and it took them almost two days to process it.

Working all weekend, getting back on track.

Massey had a great birthday, she passed her driving test, the dogs have food and so do we. I got lucky and made enough money  to cover it all and will go into work tomorrow and do it all again.

Life could be a lot worse if you ask me....and often times has been.

We are on the upswing, taking baby steps but at least moving forward! I still say I will laugh at all this madness one day and be glad I have it all written down to remember.

Never take anything for granted and be grateful for every thing you do have. I have a wonderful husband,  three great kids, three pups who adore me and a roof over all of our heads.

I'd say I am a winner!

Til next  time... Cash Flow COTTON

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's a Family Affair

Massey just got her driver's permit (another blog altogether) and in going through box after box after box in the hovel that is my garage looking for her birth certificate I stumbled upon four photo albums I thought were gone for good.

When my Diddy was alive he had the huge box of family photos we have had since long before I was born. They were all kept loose in a Busch beer box that belonged to my uncle. One year for Christmas I sneaked the box out of his house and bought four nice photo albums and filled them with all the photos putting them in somewhat chronological order. Some pictures dated back to the Great Depression and were a compilation of our life history. After Diddy died the boxes of his stuff were shuffled between my house and my sister's house when she moved. We have been looking for them for them for years. Thanks to the new complicated procedures to obtain a simple driving permit I was forced to  go through every box in my garage looking for Massey's birth certificate. The last box I dug through held the treasure...AND her birth certificate!

I spent hours going through  these albums. I laughed, I teared up and often times cracked up...hence the above photo. It was at a family reunion before Tim and I were married. Tim was there but we had only been dating for a few months.

This picture SCREAMS "The Leach Family."

I also came across this picture of my Momma at her wedding shower.  I love all the hats!
All three women to her right are my aunts. People just don't dress for the occasion these days like they used to.

I even came across  this picture of me and Diddy at the Valentine Dance my senior year in high school. It was right after Momma had died and he was one of the chaperones. We were Jitterbugging, he and Momma had shown us all how to as kids, playing those thick 78 RPM records on the turn table in our dining room. I can still remember the words..."Mopping up soda pop rickies to our hearts delight, dancing to a swingeroo quickie, juke box Saturday night."

My family has always been a crazy eclectic mix and I have followed tradition raising my own family. When I was little, our house was the one where everyone wanted to hang out and they were always welcome.

When my own kids were young it was full of sometimes ten kids on any given day...and they were always welcome (til  they broke something important and then they scattered like the wind.)

It's nice to have that house where everyone wants to be. My house has never been a mansion, far from it. But it's not one of those houses where you  can't eat in the living room. It's a house where you are welcome to eat or drink anything out of my humble kitchen. It's a house you  can spend the night in and a house you  can come to if you have nowhere else to go. One of Zach's friends got kicked out of his house after a fight with his father his senior year and finished school living in our spare bedroom. At least I knew he went to school every day and we even got him a cap and gown to walk in at graduation.

When I was little there were some friend's houses  that had strict rules. You  couldn't walk through the living room was always vacuumed and if you  tried they  could see your footprints in  the carpet  that showed the fresh vacuum marks. Some kids had bedrooms that looked more like a room in a hotel than a kid's room.  I remember one house in our neighborhood whose mother had a sign taped to her refrigerator "If you don't live here, don't open this door."

My house has always been open for any kid. Adults not so much, but kids should always have a place to go and my house was usually it. I'd rather have them all here than worry  about where they were.

It's a different world than I was lucky enough to grow up in. It's full of temptations that weren't around in the sixties and seventies...or even the eighties or nineties. It's a world that is full of hate and world that tempt kids every day to do the wrong thing. If they feel comfortable and safe in my modest humble home, I welcome them with open arms and an open heart.

I'm not the greatest mother, but I'm not the worst. I aspire to be the best but often fall short. Most of the kids that hang at my house know me well enough that they know I have been through the wringer the past few years. They still come here.

I'm no "Ann Leach" (my own Momma) but I am Kelly Leach and learned from the best.

My kids make mistakes, so do I. Who am I to judge?

My youngest is a senior so I suppose this is my last year of "Open House."

Being honest, I'll miss it but also feel like these past sixteen years have been awesome.  I've seen all these kids grow up in my house along with my own kids.

True to the times, one of them has already been killed in a senseless shooting.

It breaks my heart for the kids of today.

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one."

Teens tend to think they are invincible and nothing can stop them. One bullet stopped my neighbor's son. I wish he had been at my house that night instead of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You want to hold your kids close, but you can't. They wrestle themselves away  from you in an attempt to grow up. Sometimes they do and unfortunately sometimes they don't.

My kids call me paranoid. I take that as a compliment.

My house is a mess and I know it. It's not a rats nest or filthy but simply a place where any kid is welcome. I think we need more places like my house!

I am worried about the world. I am worried about our kids. Heck I am worried about that $86 check I wrote at the grocery store yesterday.

The grand scheme of life in my mind is this... Live your life so that when you are gone a bunch of people will show up and say that you made a difference in their life.

What greater compliment could a person hope for?

Til next  time...COTTON

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You DOES Make You Stronger

This is a picture of Massey when she was one week old, still in the NICU fighting her way up to four pounds. If this helps you  realize how tiny she was, I don't have big hands!

Seventeen years ago  this little girl came into my life, way  too early and way too tiny, but she came anyway. Due October 5th (my momma's birthday) was too long for her to wait so instead she came August 19th (eighteen years to the day my momma died)

With Zachary I worked til two weeks past my due date (he's always been stubborn.) With Massey I was on total bed rest from my fourth month on. I guess  you  can say she has always been my
"Drama Queen!"

I got to the hospital in an ambulance after calling 911 at 3:30 in the wee hours of August 19th. When the paramedics got to my house I was sitting on a folded towel at the end of our driveway...I knew it wasn't good. By 4:23 she arrived via C-section. I lost five pints of blood and Massey lost some too, but we both made it. She came home with us two weeks later and continued to blossom.

This is one of my all time favorite pics of her. She was two and already sprouting the curly hair that she hates and I love! She was quiet as a mouse for the first four years...she hasn't shut up since.

 I love all three of my kids equally, yet in different ways.  I had my two boys first... and by the time they reached fourth grade, they were ready to be left alone to their own devices...most of which involved Pokemon cards or a game controller.

By this time Massey had met her BFF. Alyssa moved in next  door to us and moved into  Massey's heart. They are now 17 and 16 and still tight friends.  Friends may come and friends may go, but the friend next door will always know! I love  she has remained tight with her and believe they will be well into adulthood.

Massey joined the Guard in her last year of middle school and I was introduced to something I had never experienced. At this point we were flat broke but Massey wanted to do Guard so I let her. Other band parents paid part of her dues, bought her things when I couldn't and supported her like one of their own. I volunteered every time I could, ran a Funnel Cake stand at the football games and somehow made it to every competition except a few. She learned discipline and commitment. She learned camaraderie and what it takes to be part of a successful team. I made many friends and it was a joy to be part of such a dedicated group of not only students but parents.

Massey hit her junior year and realized she wanted to go far in life. She quit Guard and picked up her books. She made National Honor Society and has her focus on college, full force.

I diddled at college for two years and still want to go back and finish. I wish I had been more serious about it, but at least Massey is.

Trust me, this girl is going to take the world by it's horns and DO something major.

Unfortunately she had to endure us being broke when money matters most to a teen. No worries... my Massey was always thrilled when I brought home bags of hand me downs from friends who had daughters her age. She held her head up high when other kids said rude things about her repeating outfits at school or not having the right shoes or jeans to "Fit In."

My awesome brother has spoiled her rotten, just like he does me and my sister.

The above picture is the way I see Massey's future...smiling back at me with the world in front of her,  anxious to make her mark and more importantly make a difference.

Happy Birthday to my little girl.

You have given me fits at times, you have ticked me off plenty, but you have always made me proud and I know you will reach the stars and beyond.

The love I feel for you cannot be expressed in written words. The love I feel for you consumes me. You are going out to do what I should have done over thirty years ago...make a difference.

Massey are not only my daughter, you are my idol.

"Go gettum, kid."

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Hard Six Hours

I think tonight aged me twenty you think it shows?

I dropped Zach off at work before I went in and he sent me packing with 32 hot wings from Hooters to take to work with me. It was a wonderful surprise. I hadn't eaten all day and was famished.

I had so many plans for today but worked a double shift yesterday and woke up this morning feeling totally wiped out. I think I have just burned myself out over the past two years...not to mention that I am over 52 years old and have been doing this for over three decades. Guess time is catching up with me.
I am at least ten years older than the oldest server except for one and most are over half my age and some are even younger than my oldest son.

I told Tim the other night that I just didn't think I could do it anymore. Day after day, double after double. I did have a day off this week though and as of late have been taking two days off. I still work more shifts than most servers but I always have. The thing I have to remember is I am not nineteen anymore. When I was nineteen I worked six days a week...but that's all I did. (Besides party)

Now I have responsibilities, a house, a family, a yard, three dogs and a body that is over half a century old yet still working on my feet trying to keep up with kids half my age and then some.

When I was a little girl way back in  the sixties and thought about what I would be doing when I was over fifty it certainly wasn't this. Of course when I was little I considered people who were thirty middle aged. People who were forty were ole farts and people in  their fifties sat around and did nothing until they moved to Florida to die.

These hot flashes aren't helping either.  They used to be only at night but have worked their way into my daylight hours as well and now even plague me at work.  If you are not a woman in your fifties, you have no idea what I am talking about, so let me enlighten you.

All  the sudden you feel like you are going to literally melt on  the spot where you are standing. In a matter of five seconds you have sweat rolling down your back and your forehead is covered in perspiration. It's not a matter of feeling flushed but  a matter of feeling like you want to rip your clothes off and jump into the Artic January. If you are in the bed asleep and it happens, you wake up totally drenched in sweat and can't bear any sheet or covers even touching you. Then five minutes later you are freezing and searching around blindly in  the dark for your covers. Then once you finally get back to sleep it begins again two hours later. Not very conducive for a good night's rest.

On top of this I work in a kitchen where the temp never drops below 95 degrees. Add the stress of carrying ten pounds of plates on your arm and trying to keep  the masses happy while they wait for their meal to come and trying to smile the entire's exhausting.

I'm having to re-evaluate. Am I going to kill myself on  the job or take it easy on my body and let the chips fall where they may?

The bank I have an account with closed a branch two months ago. Yesterday they closed another branch...not a good sign. I told Barb at work tonight I was going over there and getting my six dollars out before they went under! That's a gallon of milk , two loaves of store brand bread and a dollar roll of crappy trash bags that tear when you just look at them but are better than nothing.

I'm getting old, had a rough couple of years but survived. Now I need to take care of myself before I put my kids through losing a mother way  too early, like I did.

Massey had a grand idea. She wants to video tape me reading some of my better blogs and putting them on youtube. No money spent, just putting me out there to see what happens.

Can't hurt, might help!

I'm turning in for another night of often interrupted sleep. Waking up to do it all again and then on Sunday taking my little girl to downtown Atlanta for her seventeenth birthday at the restaurant of her choosing. Don't want to disclose too much about it but let's just say it's gonna be a good day for Massey and a lot less driving her around for me!

Til next  time...COTTON

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You Can't Go Back... So Move Forward

You'll have to be from my generation  to remember this picture. It was bigger  than the "Smiley Face."

One of my husband's favorite sayings is "You can't change  the past." He's usually saying this to me when I am griping about something he didn't do or didn't do exactly the way I wanted him to. He uses it other times too, like when I lament about how well off we used to be compared to the life we've lived past few years.

I know this sounds crazy,  especially coming from me but I think I need to listen to him more often.

I can't change the past few years. The important thing is that we are all still here. The important thing is that we all learned a lesson..."Never take life for granted."

So I lost twenty pounds and gained a lot of gray hair. So I have more wrinkles than a dress shirt crammed into a two liter coke bottle. So what?

I'm still here, and last time I checked that was the important part.

You can't change the past and you can't go back. Guess I'll just inch my way step at a time.

Don't get me wrong, it was rough. At times almost comical. (see MANY previous posts) I do miss the days when we had perfect credit and could buy anything we needed, within reason. We  took vacations to the beach every year and spoiled our kids rotten every Christmas and birthday.

We have battled back to on time payments. That is progress my friends. Speaking of friends, we would have never made it this far without them. My family has been the best...which consist of my brother and sister. They pulled us through and pushed us onward.

When we hit our low my friends kicked into high gear. I actually have a list of people to pay back and  don't worry, I will.

I gotta get out of this serving gig and into what I love...writing.

I am grateful for what serving tables has done for me but it is time to do something for myself.

My daughter mentioned maybe she should video tape me speaking my blog instead of writing  it and putting it on youtube. It's free and there are a lot of idiots making money off it.

Something to consider...

Til next  time...COTTON

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Four Dollar Investment

Actually had another day off (so I thought) and I cut grass til it was time to pick up Massey from school. We swung by work so I could pick up my paycheck...a whopping $23.00 for two weeks of work, working forty hours a week. I used to never get a check and since it was nil there was nothing left to take out state tax. Last year I owed state $1500. I  talked with a customer who is a CPA. They looked at my pay stub and said to change my exemptions to three instead of one. Low and behold there is enough to take out state tax and I usually get a small check too. I kinda understand how and why (not really) but it's nice to have a small  check to buy a little gas or pick up  a couple of things at the grocery store.

This was around 4PM.

When we parked out back of the restaurant the bartender was at her car and asked if I was going back home before work? I said I was off and she "I hate to tell you but you're in at five."

For Pete's sake! I guess I just had a brain fart or that hamster fell asleep in  that little wheel again. I checked my order pad that I keep stuck between the car seats and where I write my schedule down.

I WAS working the five o'clock shift!
Well ain't THAT some poop?

Took my little check and put gas in my car to make the low fuel light go off and took Massey back to the house. Driving for thirty minutes with the top down had blown all the grass clippings out of my hair and I had taken a shower yesterday evening. YEP... I'm good to go!

I put on  little make up and grabbed a skirt and shirt and headed into work.

It was slow but since I thought I had the day off , it was all gravy to me.  Len (my boss) has been sick for a week but of course still put in his usual ninety five hour work week. He's better but he's been grumpy. It doesn't help that his wife relentlessly berates him...constantly. Unfortunately I treat Tim much the same way. We had a big fight the other morning when both racing to get ready for work at the same time.

I'll admit it. I was a bitch. Tim is a man of few words...he suddenly had plenty.

He was right, on every point and sometimes you need to have the truth thrown at you in a blunt way to make you see the whole picture. (I've been VERY nice since then)

Barb is ten years older than me so I fully expect her to be further down the "Bitter Wife" path...Kudos to her for making it that far!

Tonight I was standing by the office where Len was on the computer. She leaned in and said "Wrap it up now, mister."  I expected to turn and see him playing the ponies online or reading Fox News.

He was doing the schedule for the staff. When Barb walked off I saw  him wipe both of his hands down his face and exhale slowly but loudly. I calmly said to him "Ya know Len, it's probably a good thing you and Tim don't know each other any which he instantaneously interrupted me and replied emphatically "Tell me about it!"

I told Len he and Tim would have already researched discounts for "Two-fer" hit men on the Internet.

I told Len when I checked out in the office later that I had a secret Power Ball ticket for tonight and if I hit the $308,000,000 I would give him a million and Tim a million. Len calmly said "No one would ever see me again...EVER."

My Lotto winning scenario plays out this way in my head.

I can see Tim and Len on a golf course somewhere in Aruba. They'd be  drinking a cold one, slapping each other on the back and saying..."And I left her a note on  the kitchen counter that said I'd be back in thirty minutes."

I actually bought another ticket on  the way home from work. I know my odds aren't good but I COULD win.

I could pay back so many people who have been so generous to me and my family over the past few years. I could take care of my sister and brother for life and up my standing in  the sibling status.

Heck, I could buy a publishing company and print my OWN book!

I could get all my male pup's check ups and shots.... and even hire them some bitches!

It would change my life, save my marriage and bring my blood pressure down. I'm not counting on it, but it would be nice.

If I don't win, that's okay too. At least the fantasy has reminded me that I have made it this far. I've had lots of help but in other shoes would do  the the same.

I'm still here and kicking. I wake up every day...some people don't. I struggle but some how make it happen. It's day by day, shift by shift and tip by tip.

There are millions and millions MORE destitute.

I think I have already won.

Til next  time...COTTON

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Times They Are a Changing

It's been coming for a while. I think I need a career change and the age of fifty two seems like a perfect time. (NOT)

I have been a waitress so long that it was politically correct to call us that when I started.

Since I got back from vacation I have been thinking more and more about how I really don't want to do this anymore. It was a good three decade run for the most part but just like Forrest Gump said when he got tired of running... "I'm pretty  tired, I  think I'll go home now."

I love my regular customers and love meeting new people, hopefully giving them a wonderful dining experience. It's the few people who won't even look up at you while ordering and the one's who won't bother to get off their cell phone to order and seemed ticked that I am interrupting their phone call. It's that and a lot more...but those are two of my biggest peeves.

I am over half a century old; have had the same occupation for almost thirty four years  and work for $2.13 an hour. That seems insane to me.

When I got home from work tonight at almost midnight, I went out back with the pups and sat back in the hammock. I said to God "If I need to change jobs...send me a sign."

Not two minutes later a star streaked across the dark sky.

Granted there is a meteor shower this weekend but there have been many times during one  I sat out back for over an hour and never saw squat.

Tonight I saw my sign.

Then I begin to think...What will I do?
I love to read but am WAY too loud for a library job. I could work in an office but I hate panty hose, only own four nice dresses and am also WAY too loud for an office.

Then I thought, what do I really WANT to do?
Can we all say it together?


If I could sit and pour my soul out...even with a pen on paper, I would do it for hours and often have.

Then I said to myself..."What's stopping you, ya big idiot?"
The thing stopping me is I have no money to speak of and rely on every shift to make it to the next, but if I don't try to be truly and sincerely  happy,  I am shortchanging myself .

 I know better than most how quickly life can be taken away and think it is time to make a change.

I read quite a bit. I'm no Einstein but also read the local papers and magazines. Are they really paying people to write that?

My problem is that although I have replaced kitchen pipes and fixed lawn mowers , I'm not too savvy with the whole "Zip file, compressed file and word document thing."

I need  to learn how to send out copies and certain specific blogs of mine to different places via the Internet. If I mailed all my blogs to a magazine it would be in a Manila envelope so thick they would call the bomb squad and send out the fancy  dancy robot to check for Anthrax.

I guess what I am saying is my ignorance and laziness is what's  keeping me from being happy...and THAT is pretty lame.

Have made the decision, it's now and it's time. It could go nowhere or it could change my life for the better.

Going out back with the pups one more time before turning wake up for another double shift followed by another one on Monday.

I've done pretty well for myself. I haven't bought a mansion or sent my kids to Cancun for spring break but they have all turned out pretty well considering the past few years.

I'm thinking it's "ME time."

Til next  time...COTTON

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Southeastern Fair at Lakewood

Click on this photo to see one of the great childhood memories I have. Every year the Southeastern Fair came to Lakewood and my Diddy  took me. I guess when I was younger he took all three of us kids but my fondest memories are of just him  and me. We would walk through every single stinking exhibition hall. Farm equipment, chickens and roosters, pigs and cattle.  It was wonderful. Then we would walk down that marvelous Midway that spread out over a hill down to the racetrack and rickety old wooden roller coaster the "Greyhound."
It was built in 1915 and was blown up in the second "Smokey and the Bandit" movie in  the seventies. You could watch people riding it, while wooden boards would fall off. Heck we didn't even have seat belts in our cars back then...what's a few loose boards?

Then there was that ominous walk by all the Freak Show tents. I remember year after year seeing that cartoon drawing of Lobster Boy and all kind of other outlandish things being advertised. I went one year  with my next door neighbors and we actually went inside the tent.

Most of the advertised were simply things preserved  in jars. Kinda gross. I do remember the Bearded Lady, she was real...Real Fat, ugly AND bearded. (bless her heart at least she had a job)

Lobster Boy was just a freak. Another fat stumpy guy behind a glass case with hands that were an obvious severe deformity . They  probably made him help pick up the cow dung in the exhibition hall with his claws after we all left...I can't see them treating him like a king.

Then there were the "peep" shows. The tent was decorated with caricatures of women in veils and belly dancing outfits. I never went in those, but bet my older brother did!

It was the one day a year that  Diddy and I were besties. We didn't ride anything, we didn't spend  money but explored each agricultural and animal exhibit and simply people watched . The smell of funnel cakes, horse, pig and cow poop all mixed together was mesmerizing to me as a kid!

To grow up in the sixties and seventies was amazing. We never locked our front door, slept with all the windows open, even on the ground floor and rarely locked the screen doors unless we were trying to keep  the dog from getting out.

We didn't have air conditioning in our house, we had an attic fan. We had one phone in our house, a black rotary dial phone on the kitchen wall. We had one television...big as a love seat. It always had aluminum foil wrapped around it's antennae. (which never seemed to help)

Our first video  game was by Atari.  "Pong." It was on the black and white set but we were all fascinated  by  the virtual ping pong game.

We all carried transistor radios around and if home ran to the rotary dial kitchen phone to call in a request or try and win a contest.

We slept like babies even in the summer heat.  I remember going to bed listening to WQXI (we called it Quixie) on the screened in back porch and waiting to hear my request after getting home from  the roller rink ,where no one asked me to couple skate. I always wanted some pimple faced boy in bell bottom pants and a wide collared paisley shirt to saunter up next to me on his Roller King skates and ask me to couple skate with him to "Seasons in  the Sun" by Terry Jacks.

Never happened.

But I was still a happy kid.

Didn't have my first french kiss til I was over fifteen and it was, at the least awkward. I went to a dance at the school with him. Does it tell you anything that his nickname was "Chin?" His older brother who drove us was nicknamed "Big Chin" and this was WAY before Jay Leno! He was a good guy but it didn't help he broke his leg on the wrestling team two days before the dance and wore a suit with the leg of his suit pants safety pinned up over his cast.

Looking back...I was so stinking lucky.

Needless to say I remained a virgin til after the age of twenty...another thing I am pretty proud of. He turned out to be a bigger idiot than me and in hindsight a waste of my time and virtue.

Don't ever rush growing up. I know kids want to but they are insane.

When you are a teen you  think everything is dire, every episode tragic and horrific.

Give yourself time to grow up. Give yourself time to become somewhat of the person you will end up to be.

Enjoy your childhood. Be a kid while you can still be a kid. You can never go me!

I WAS lucky. I grew up as a teen in the seventies and lived no where NEAR Woodstock but in comfy ole East Point, Georgia.

I wish my three kids could have been so lucky!

Take the good with the bad.

 I was lucky but my kid's are confronted with evil at every turn in their lives. I know they often turn a deaf ear and mutter "Whatever" when I am talking to them but in my heart I know they hear least I hope so.

I still want a guy to ask me to couple skate to "Seasons in the Sun."

Just once!

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's A Dog's Life

I've realized quite a few things with this latest puppy addition.

I am over fifty two years old, my youngest is a senior in high school . My oldest did wonderful after finally being not so gently nudged from  the nest and my younger son is looking to get a place of his own. "Looks Like I've Almost Made It!"

 While on my hands and knees tonight after work, spraying so much Resolve carpet cleaner on dog spots that the problem SHOULD have been resolved by the time I got through spraying if the label's bragging rights are correct ; thought about how ridiculous it was to think I was almost there.

Now I'm left raising a seven year old, six year old and four month old. At least there won't be anymore teacher conferences or recitals and if one of them gets locked up, good luck with THAT one phone call!

So what they don't know how to use a door mat? Neither do my kids. My kids gripe when they are hungry. When my pups are hungry,  they just wait for me to remember. They love me when I am in a good mood or bad mood, and when I am in a bad mood they seem to love me more.

They never gripe about anything  but they don't have to.  I can read their always slobbering faces. It's a bond you make with pups. They only want to be loved and all three of mine know without a doggy doubt they are.

Cleaning up doggy poop is a breeze compared to raising three teens.

If I can survive raising three teens I can survive raising twelve more paws.

Til next  time...Crazy COTTON

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's Like Having a Toddler Again

So I guess if you  read my blog you know we got a new Boxer puppy. We needed it like we all need another hole in each of our heads but he was full blooded, AKC registered and free. Really,what's four more paws in my house anyway? Sometimes I enjoy the paws more than the feet!

When we lost Rosie two years ago, it was devastating. She was a beauty inside and out.

Our new black boxer pup is named "Ziggy." Massey  came up with it after she vetoed me naming him "Ali." I think my name was more unique and a clever play on words. (Get it? Male black  boxer who's name is Ali?)

Massey and Zach are both Marley fans...Bob, Ziggy and the rest of the " Reggae- Brady Bunch." They got more kids than the ole woman who lived in a shoe but I also like them so I relented. (although I am  the one who will end up taking care of  him when the newness wears off )

I can leave him outside for two hours and when he comes inside he seems really pee on my floor. I was getting ready for work the other morning and after being outside with the other two idiots for a couple of hours, I let them all in. Charlie settled into his man cave under my king size bed and Ham hopped up ONTO the bed. Ziggy can't make the big jump to join Ham yet and Charlie has a cover charge for "The Cave" , so he plopped down by me while I did my three minute make up job which was also preceded by  my  thirty second hair do and my four minute shower.

He got up and stretched. (That should have been my warning) He wandered out into the hall and proceeded to  hunch over and take a dump.

Thinking now like a Monday morning quarterback...I just should have shut up while he made a nice little circular pile of doo-doo that I could pluck up in one use of ten sheets of  toilet paper.

Instead I screamed him name loudly right as he got his Hunch on. He dropped a load and then scurried off, knowing he had done wrong but still hunched over  leaving a good  five feet of doo-doo bomb lets along the way.

I raised three kids and so far three dogs ...I should have know better!

It's like starting over. At least THIS one can't actually ask for things and I don't really think he's college material unless they come out with  clown college for dogs by the time he's in his teens.

But I absolutely LOVE the little stinker.  He is as black and sleek as a Seal. He makes me laugh and has revitalized my two older pups.

Who'd a thunk it...He came in 3 months old and is already the Alpha male. They both love him, they both get tired of his non stop play but simply and gently bat him back a good five feet with one paw when they have had enough. He tumbles back head over feet but puts his front paws down  and immediately barks at  them like "Hey! Come on...are ya ole farts or WHAT?"

He starting hacking yesterday morning and Tim got up to let him out. He eats everything in sight or reach. He loves waste baskets in  the bathrooms.   He can play with a lid from a to go cup for forty five minutes. He's mesmerized by empty toilet paper rolls. We thought he had something stuck in his throat.

After coming back inside he was no better so I stroked his throat in a downward motion hoping to help the lodged item move on through his system so he could poop it out on my floor tomorrow.

Then he started acting like he was trying to cough something up so I applied the Puppy Heimlich maneuver. (I invented it on the fly) It didn't work either but his lipstick came out of it's case  for the first time.

By this time Massey was home from school and Zach followed shortly after. I told them I had to go to work but they were both fretting over Ziggy. When I left for work they were loading him up in Tim's car taking him to a vet one of Zach's friends work for.

I got a text at work that they thought Zig had Kennel Cough.  I thought more along the lines of a Q Tip or cotton ball halfway down but Massey and Zach paid for the visit and brought the little lunatic back home with a prescription.

I got a prescription for him too... I prescribe that we whack his butt and rub his nose in it!

It's been a solemn couple of years around here and I will be the first admit Ziggy has made us all smile again.

He's still a little stinker and when I produce the QTip out of a pile of his steaming poop..."I shall be the victor!"

How could you not love this little alien? (click on the photo) The girl who gave him to us said she used to call him "The Alien" because his eyes were wide apart and had a huge knot on top of his head.

I say "Welcome to our planet, Little Zig."

I couldn't love this pup more...unless he learned how NOT to poop in the house. It's not like we live in a mansion but dust and and dog hair can be swiped away with a cloth. Poop is another thing. I pretty  much give my kids free range but at least they poop and pee in the toilet.

Will "Pupdate" later.   COTTON

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dinner With the Sistas

Work started off slow...that always worries me. I was coming out of the kitchen when a woman in  the lobby  threw up her arm and waved at me. I didn't have a pair of binoculars on me so I simply smiled and waved to some random out of focus woman. When I got to the lobby I was delighted to see it was one of The Lennon Sisters...aka The Taylor Sisters. I grew up with  this woman and her three sisters in East Point Christian Church. Every one of them is a song bird. I spent many a weekend at their house, all of us in their basement with one sister banging away on  the piano and all of us singing our hearts out.

Did you ever see  The Andy Griffith episode when Barney was the worst singer in the church choir? Well that was me, but they let me sing with them and even taught me how to sing the Alto parts. (I was DEFINITELY not a soprano)

Their mother had been best friends with my own momma when they were young women and lived together with my grand mother near Grant Park in Atlanta. My grand mother (who we called Mema) loved their mother just like a daughter. She even had this portrait of their mother on her dining room wall.

The photo below is their mom in my own momma's wedding. She is the one with her hand on my momma's arm.

Her portrait hung right beside this portrait of my own momma...

 They were 1940's "BFFL's"

It's crazy, all four sisters look like carbon copies of their mother. The sista closest to my age even went on vacation with us when we were teens.

We had to seat them in a back room of the restaurant because I know how they get when they are all together and "I" am their's a "Loud Fest." They are still close to each other and the memories we recall could literally take months.

They left me my best tip of the night...financially, mentally and emotionally! We laughed, we gossiped (my bad) and we "Remember the time when..."

Make new friends but keep  the old. One is silver and the other is gold.

What makes that even more true is all of us are approaching our golden years. To me golden years aren't my nineties when (if I make it that far)  will be most probably be a burden to my kids. My golden years are NOW.

I have married. I have three kids and all survived having me as a momma. We hit a bad patch but by  The Grace of God and many others we survived.

I'd say on a scale of one to ten, we're back up to a seven (and that's no easy feat in this economy).

These girls read my blog. These girls know what I have been through. These girls may not agree with all my opinions but these girls love me...and I love them right back! The thing we DO agree on is the most important: "We are friends and love each other."

My grandmother and momma used to say "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

Love is an awesome thing to experience. Hate never has a happy ending.

You  can disagree with someone but not hate them. You can be different and that's okay too.

What's truly important to me is the worth of the life YOU are living. It may be a poor life, it may be a modest one or it may be a fabulous one.

Are you loving people every day? Are you judging people every day or accepting to the fact they may think and feel differently but still are wonderful human beings worthy of your love and support?

I love democrats, I love republicans. I love Americans and I love foreigners. I love Christians and I love Muslims.

Let me rephrase and condense:  "I love people. Some more than others. If you are a good person, I don't care what your affiliations or views are. If you  are a good person, you live your life right and don't shovel out hate at others...ANY others."

Life is short...way too short for all this hate. Way too short for peeps to be gunning down complete strangers in a theatre or Sikh Temple or even on a battlefield.

I think The Youngbloods said it almost perfect decades ago...

"Fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now
Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
Fading in the grass
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now
If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at you command
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now."

I thought about leaving out the oft repeated refrain...but you can't skip over the most important part. They are repeating it for a reason.

Nuff said...COTTON

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Last First Day of High School

My youngest begins her senior year of high school tomorrow. In  true Cotton fashion I waited til today to buy the dreaded school supplies.

When I was a kid your momma never had to buy school supplies...they gave you every thing you needed when  you  got there. Notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, rulers and compasses. Sometimes they even gave you a  minature coke bottle on a tiny chain. (I grew up right outside of Atlanta...Coke Country)

 I always loved the notebooks, wish  they still made them. Blue Horse three ring binders covered in denim. I searched for over an hour on the Internet for a picture of one but found a pic of  the filler paper instead and it brought back a flood of memories.

I took Massey to Wal Mart and we picked up some notebook paper, composition books, pencils and a three ring binder. She needed a new back pack but we couldn't find them. I spotted a man stocking shelves and asked where the back packs were? He rubbed his face and solemnly said "I'm embarrassed to say they forgot to order them. That's all we have, and he motioned to a wall behind us with about ten Dora the Explorer and Batman vinyl back packs.

Can you say "I bet someone got fired from the purchasing department of the Wal Mart in Newnan this week?"

He said we could try sporting goods and see if they had some. We went to sporting goods...and that's just what they were, sporting goods. Back packs for $49 and up. We opted to skip the back pack purchase.

She got what she needs for her first day; They'll send home a mile long list tomorrow of what else they want me to buy.

At least she is a senior, although having had two others graduate before her I know exactly what to expect. It's already started.  Last week I had to drop off ten bucks for her 'Senior 2013' tee shirt for her to wear on  her first day. They want seventy five bucks for her to walk at graduation...heck they should pay ME for sitting in the football stands sweating to death to just watch her walk across a football field. At least WE graduated at  the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Atlanta. It was pretty impressive, unless your class graduated the day after the circus left town. If your class did,  you  could still smell  the horse and elephant poop but at least it was still an auditorium in downtown Atlanta and  you  were actually on a real stage!

I know Massey is excited. My boys weren't so much, but they both were sick of school.  Massey is a social butterfly and wears her Indian Pride (the mascot) proudly. She may not be a cheerleader or be the Homecoming queen. She may not be the most popular girl in school but is one of the truest most sincere sixteen year old girls I have ever met.

 She can wear me out but that's what mommas are for!

 She can just as easily make me smile when I feel like crap and even know when I need to hear her say "I love you, Momma."

My last child is growing up. Three kids have survived having me as a momma. Kudos to me!!!

til next  time...COTTON

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Calling It A Night

It's been a long week. Yes I had two days off in a row but that only gave  me 24 hours to pack six months worth of  things to do into. I got about  four  things done but that's better than three!

I'm getting a bit agitated with social media. It's not a soap box or pulpit, it's 'social networking' for Pete's sake. Give all the rants a rest. If  you  think people are so wrong, why are they on your friends list?

I have a lot of opinions too. My opinion about religion is that I lift my head and speak directly to Him. My opinion about politics is when I check a box in the voting booth. The one opinion I WILL voice here is that literally millions and millions of people gripe, fuss and complain but never take the time to vote.

The year I was born, 1960 over 63% of registered voters cast their ballot.
In  2010 ... out of 235,809,266 registered voters only 37% bothered to go  to the polls.

If you want change, you have to VOTE for change. If  you  think this country is so screwed up, who are YOU  to be bitching when you are one of the over 60% who didn't bother to vote?

I know more people than I count who I know for a FACT don't vote. They'll show up for a chicken sandwich on a specific day but can't seem to make it to the polling booth.


It may just be me, but quite frankly I would be embarrassed to not vote!

How lame is a person be who can't take five minutes out of their day to cast a vote (their opinion) but will sit in lines of traffic for hours just to buy a chicken sandwich?

I know that many of my friends may see this and immediately think I am assuming they don't vote...I would never do  that...but facts are facts and over HALF of the people aren't even voting!

THESE are the people (my angry social networking friends) who you should be spewing your anger at ...unless  you are one OF them and if you are, shut up or vote.

It's not rocket's democracy.

And we're not using it the way it was intended because we are lazy? That is pretty stinking sad.

No matter what yer bitch is, no matter what you feel strongly can you complain when  you are doing absolutely nothing to HELP the problem?

And we think politicians are the crooks?

We are only screwing ourselves when we don't exercise  the most important privilege we have.

This isn't social media, it's my blog so I CAN say "Wake up America...if you want change, what are you waiting for?"

Til next time...A Georgia Voter

Friday, August 3, 2012


Dang...with the social media rage and all it was a great birthday. I got over 200 well wishes on my FB wall and even got an actual birthday card handed to me from a co worker. I didn't even know they still MADE cards!

If all these people love me so much, couldn't one of them reminded this ole gal to renew her car tag?

The thought didn't even cross my mind until yesterday. I was sitting at a red light and noticed a new tag plate on the car in front of me. I thought to myself  'I hope I get that new tag when I renew mine.'

Then it hit tag expired on  Tuesday!  Trust me if there is one car the cops watch's mine. You would think Zach was the Don Corleone of Coweta County after he got into trouble. They sat at my house, across the street from my house and behind my daughter at high school football games. You can cook meth in your house , sell pills or even molest children but be a stupid teen who refuses to rat on other people just to keep himself out of trouble and they are all over you like stink on poop.

Two years ago when we were beyond flat broke, my brother loaned us his spare car when Tim's was out of commission. He told us the tag was expired and we had full intentions of getting a new one but decided we enjoyed electricity and gas in the house more and struggled just to pay them.

I can remember sitting at red lights,  waiting to turn right on red and if no one was behind me I would sit and sit and sit hoping a cop car would go by so I could pull out behind him instead of  being in front of him. If I was driving and had the kids in the car they would be my lookouts.  They would say "A cop is coming up behind us" and I would immediately put my blinker on and turn onto the next street...screech into the first driveway and turn around so I could turn back onto the main road BEHIND him! Am I a thinker or what?

I did this for almost a year, was a nervous wreck every time I got behind the wheel but learned some pretty cunning moves and diversion tactics.

That's why I was so ticked when I forgot to get my tag. The one year I could actually scrape together money for the tag, I totally forgot about it.

Now I have to pay a late fee. On top of that I am worried about my Lil Beem passing emissions. Last year when I took it,  the ole codger took thirty minutes to give me my emissions certificate and said "I don't know how it passed  but it did."  I worried about that for ten seconds knowing I wouldn't have to worry  about that for twelve more months.

Heading to a place tomorrow that has $10 emission tests  wearing my push up bra and a low cut blouse. Come to think of it, maybe I should take Massey with me and our cute little new puppy! Would a six pack of PBR be too much to offer?

I got back to work safely tonight and home again. I opened  this morning so tonight I dodged the bullet of a rehearsal dinner for 40 people. They started with 40 peeps changed it to thirty yesterday and arrived at  the restaurant tonight with almost 50 peeps in tow.


One of the servers on the party remarked she wished I was working the party because it would be one heck of a blog.

Been there, done that.

In my thirty four years of waiting tables since leaving college I have seen it all.  From when you take hot towels for people who order ribs and they say "We didn't order those" to people who say  "You're gonna bring us bread  ain't cha?"

Free bread at a restaurant is considered "Christian Crack" by servers. In my opinion if you are paying over three bucks a  gallon for gas and  not going through  a drive through but want excellent food, expect to pay premium prices for a premium product.

I was the first one to escape work tonight. I am over 52 now and driving with  an expired tag. Heck they should have written me an excuse to carry with  me in my car. "I am sorry but Kelly is old and she forgot  to renew her tag...SMH"

Waking up and doing it all again tomorrow (later today) with my crafty self!

Til next time...COTTON